The Definitive Culver City Dining Guide
This emerging hub for tech and digital media brands has become a hotbed for exciting restaurants, ranging from Michelin fine dining to street tacos and everything in between.
Culver City has a rich, storied history as a moviemaking hub, but nowadays, it’s better known as one of the city’s hottest culinary destinations, rising among the ranks of other Westside fine dining meccas like Manhattan Beach and Santa Monica. That’s due in large part to an increased demand for local, worthwhile dining options from an influx of digital media and tech workers who now frequent the area.
“Since the restaurant was founded in 1959, Tito’s Tacos has witnessed firsthand how the city has evolved from a sleepy neighborhood community where the fictional town of Mayberry on The Andy Griffith Show was shot to now developing into one of the fastest-growing digital entertainment hubs on the planet,” says Lynne Davidson, co-owner of Culver City landmark Tito’s Tacos and granddaughter of founder Benjamin Davidson.
As tons of tech and media companies—Amazon, Apple, HBO, and TikTok, to name a few—move into the area, new restaurants are opening to serve the appetites of their employees. “What’s exciting about Culver City is that it’s seeing an influx of residents moving in from the entertainment and tech industries, who tend to lean towards different and unique dining experiences,” says Piccalilli co-owner and executive chef Macks Collins. Now, fine-dining institutions live alongside fast-casual eateries, giving this once-sleepy suburb a variety of phenomenal options to keep your taste buds from ever getting bored.
From boom to bust to boom again, Culver City’s dining scene continues to grow and develop. Whether you want a decadent brunch or classic steakhouse fare, old-school tacos or new-school tacos, here are the 21 best places to gorge yourself in Culver City.
This whimsical Downtown Culver City spot is the brainchild of co-owners Macks Collins and Bryan Kidwell, who cut their teeth at Michelin-starred restaurants and launched the highly lauded Mad Pambazos food truck in LA. At Piccalilli, the eye-popping decor—lush plant life, bluish-purple lowlights, butterfly motifs—is as vibrant and adventurous as the food itself. Inspired by everything from South Carolina Lowcountry (Collins is an SC native) to Southeast Asia, the menu is bursting with sit-up-and-take-notice flavors: Green Papaya Salad punched up with tamarind vinaigrette, Brussels Sprouts spiced with Korean chili, Potato Wedges dipped in curry salt and sambal aioli, and Tender Miso Pork Jowl brightened up by house ponzu sauce. Sunday brunch brings the same energy with a few additions you won’t find on the dinner menu, like savory toast with umami-rich Chinese black bean sauce and a sweet version slathered with kumquat marmalade and crème fraîche. Drinks are no afterthought either; Piccalilli’s mixologists concoct house-made syrups and liquor infusions on site for a rotating menu of creative craft cocktails.
Ordering family-style at this wood-fired Italian restaurant is a must. Situated in a boutique hotel called The Shay, this beloved Chicago transplant specializes in crave-worthy shareables—from mouth-watering starters and salads to from-scratch pastas and pizzas, all of which highlight California-fresh produce and ingredients. But the marvelous wood-fired picnics are where you’ll need the most help—whether you order the 40-ounce Bone-in Short Rib or Whole-Grilled Lobster stuffed with shrimp and king crab, both of which are served with a tower of soft hearth bread, lettuce cups, cucumbers, and an array of delicious sauces and accompaniments to help you build your own dinner. While you’re there, check out Etta’s sister restaurant/bar Celestina on the hotel’s rooftop—where you can enjoy Elotes, Coconut Shrimp, and Short Rib Tacos, along with poolside views.
Helmed by James Beard-nominated chef Eduardo Ruiz, this modern, fast-casual taqueria puts the focus on fresh ingredients and bold flavors to create crowd-pleasing tacos, burritos, and bowls. The menu is notable for its handful of delicious vegan options—including a Jackfruit Taco topped with avocado salsa and a crispy Supreme Taco filled with Abbot’s Butcher plant-based meat—but carnivores will love the slow-braised Marinated Barbacoa (especially when it’s served on a hand-pressed corn tortillas from restaurant partner La Princesita, which makes them using a traditional process of cooking, steeping, and grinding corn). They’ve also got their take on “pizzas”—consisting of several tortillas shaped into a circle, covered in cheese and meat, and baked to a satisfying crisp.
How to book: Order online for pickup or delivery.
Located in the same spot that once housed the city’s local newspaper back in 1929, Citizen Public Market retains many of the original building’s Art Deco design and structural elements. Now it’s a food hall with an impressive lineup of vendors. At Goodboybob Coffee, perfect lattes live alongside tasty tartines and chapatis (including a few unique to this location). Chef Brandon Kida’s Go Go Bird is your go-to for excellent fried chicken and Japanese-inspired sides, like cheddar biscuits infused with umami miso flavor, furikake-dusted fries, and mashed potatoes with Japanese curry gravy. Jolly Oyster’s sustainably produced seafood includes oysters sourced from its own farm and Santa Barbara uni platters. Bang Bang Noodles has finally brought its hand-pulled noodles to the Westside (and the list goes on). Not to mention, the food hall has an expansive patio and rooftop perfect for hosting comedy nights, trivia competitions, and other events.
Since opening in 2016, this innovative, open-air shopping center has evolved into one of LA’s most exciting dining destinations, where you can satisfy your cravings with a wide range of cuisines and try new concepts via rotating pop-ups. Some of Platform’s permanent eateries to visit include rooftop restaurant Margot, which serves incredible Italian/Mediterranean/Spanish food and cocktails, along with 360-degree views, in a stunning indoor-meets-outdoor space that’s perfect for date nights and group gatherings. Renowned Bushwick pizzeria Roberta’s opened its first California location here, where you can enjoy its blistered, bubbly, chewy pies on a lively patio. Loqui, which started as a weekly popup out of the back of San Francisco’s Tartine Bakery, slings amazing tacos with handmade tortillas, while Bianca turns out fresh-baked bread and pastries influenced by the owners’ Italian, Argentinean, and French roots. Then there’s newcomer Holey Grail, a vegan taro donut concept from Hawaii. Plus, every Saturday, Platform hosts a culinary pop-up series that spotlights rising chef talent in LA on the back patio.
Ms Chi Cafe
Cheeseburgers and potstickers seem like an unlikely pairing until you’ve taken a bite out of the jumbo-sized ground beef dumplings at Ms Chi Cafe. Oozing with melty cheddar cheese and served with smoky-sweet bacon tomato jam, the potstickers are a signature of Top Chef runner-up Shirley Chung (and one of her winning dishes on the show). Like her famous creation, the rest of Chung’s menu is a spectacular ode to Chinese-American cuisine, blending Northern-style Chinese flavors with all-American classics for unexpectedly delicious combinations. Crisp Salt and Pepper Tots are spiced up with Sichuan chilis, made-to-order Scallion Pancakes arrive with whipped tofu, and the creamy Honey Walnut Shrimp is coated in plum aioli and studded with candied nuts. Even the cocktails reflect Chung’s progressive approach, with an espresso-infused soju drink and chili-infused lychee libation on offer.
How to book: Make reservations online or call 424-361-5225 for pickup.
The recipient of two Michelin stars, Vespertine is probably the most over-the-top restaurant you’ll ever dine at—in a good way. While they’re currently only offering take-home meals, you’ll soon be able to experience Vespertine’s trippy, transformative culinary odyssey IRL. The stark dining room is housed in a dramatic, undulating, glass-and-steel structure called “The Waffle,” which helps set the tone as soon as you step inside. Chef Jordan Kahn (who’s also behind Culver City’s Destroyer) takes diners on a sensory journey, turning out beautifully plated courses set to a specially curated musical score. Past ingredients (some of which Kahn forages himself) have included giant kelp, black currant, abalone, smoked soy, and sunchoke, fashioned into mysterious, abstract shapes that look absolutely nothing like what they are. Meanwhile, servers move in unison in a choreographed dance (no, really, they’ve been trained by a choreographer), gracefully pouring drinks and setting down plates in sync.
How to book: Order take-home meals online and stay tuned for news of their reopening.
Situated inside Palihotel Culver City’s lush courtyard and lobby area, Simonette is a charming spot with Parisian cafe vibes and a photogenic patio that operates pretty much all day long. Brunch calls for gruyere-filled Buckwheat Crepes, croissants and bruleed grapefruit (also known as the “French Breakfast”), and tartines, while lunch and dinner involve Salad Nicoise, Escargots baked in savory puff pastry, and mussels in vermouth cream sauce. In between the two meals during happy hour, you can order anything from Gougeres and Oysters to Pomme Frites with mayo, along with $7 wines (the restaurant prides itself on its selection of Old World wines) and $8 craft cocktails that draw inspiration from French cooking techniques and ingredients.
Lodge Bread Co
Out-of-this-world bread is the name of the game here, but Lodge also excels at all things dough, from fluffy Middle Eastern pitas to flaky croissants and decadent cinnamon rolls. The menu is stacked with carby, crave-worthy eats: hefty sammies, takeaway loaves, and even a toast bar with toppings like ricotta, cultured butter, and seasonal jams. Years ago, chefs Alex Phaneuf and Or Amsalam also started hosting pizza nights, which—during the pandemic—evolved into a pop-up concept operating out of Lodge Bread. Now their passion project has turned into a full-fledged enterprise called Full Proof Pizza, where they’re slinging New York-style, whole-grain-focused pies made with a natural sourdough starter (rather than yeast) and emphasizing seasonal ingredients and unexpected combos, such as potato and leek, burrata and zucchini, and BBQ chicken.
How to book: Order online for pickup.
This dimly lit, old-school steakhouse has a long, rich history dating back to the ‘60s, when it was a thriving hotspot for Hollywood glitterati (including Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, who used to play piano in the corner). A few years ago, chefs Hans Röckenwagner and Josiah Citrin teamed up to breathe new life into Dear John’s—bringing back tuxedoed servers, leather booths, white tablecloths, and all the clubby Rat Pack vibes. The menu is transportive as well, full of American classics like tableside Caesar Salad tossed with yolk and anchovies, fragrant garlic bread, Shrimp Cocktail, Oysters Rockefeller, juicy ribeyes, and more—the perfect pairing to classic martinis and Manhattans.
After the runaway success of their Mid-City restaurant, the family behind Pasta Sisters opened this bigger location in the Helms Bakery complex. The menu’s based on simple yet delicious heirloom recipes crafted with high-quality ingredients: fresh pasta made in house with 100% Italian grain, tomatoes from the south of Italy cooked for nine hours to achieve the perfect flavor, and focaccia (it’s complimentary!) made with a raising process that starts at 4 am every day. At this casual spot, you can build your own pasta—picking a noodle (anything from delightfully chewy gnocchi to ribbons of tagliatelle) to pair with a sauce (from simple tomato and basil to creamy porcini mushroom). While you can’t go wrong with any combo, one of the favorites is Pappardelle Bolognese; cooked perfectly al dente, the thick pasta noodles are smothered in a meaty, mildly tangy, slightly sweet sauce that will have you scraping the bottom of your plate. While pasta is clearly the star, the restaurant also turns out other standout dishes, like Chicken Milanese or Porchetta Sandwiches, for a true Italian feast.
How to book: Order online for pickup.
While it’s not a restaurant per se, Stanley’s Wet Goods has a lovely indoor bar and outdoor patio that’s ideal for sipping on a full-bodied Lambrusco and noshing on cheese, charcuterie, and small plates—whether it’s a slow-cooked Mushroom Medley, Smoked Trout on toast, or Mac and Cheese elevated with minced coppa. It’s also a market that boasts a crazy-diverse booze collection with hundreds of wines (many of them natural), beers, and spirits for all your take-home needs. If you ever need guidance, the team is always ready to offer the perfect suggestions.
How to book: Walk-ins welcome. Place orders online or call 424-341-2870 for free same-day local delivery on orders over $100.
Dining at Hatchet Hall—with its dim, moody lighting and wood-fired grill—feels like you’re eating the best home-cooked meal. While the menu has a Southern slant, everything’s distinctly modern, seasonal, and California-friendly. On nearly every table, you’ll find a plate of the moist White Cheddar Cornbread, which is speckled with shishito peppers and glazed with honey and cultured butter. But don’t sleep on the rest of the menu, like Cornmeal-Fried Green Tomatoes, Blue Prawns and Grits, and excellent sides, including Slow-Cooked Collard Greens, Charred Carrots, and Crispy Potatoes with crème fraîche. Tucked away in the rear of the restaurant, there’s also a speakeasy specializing in American bourbons and whiskies, which has a fireplace and hanging taxidermy on the walls for a lodge-like feel.
How to book: Walk-ins welcome.
A bastion of Danish baking, Copenhagen uses traditional techniques to whip up Kringles (flaky cakes stuffed with marzipan and custard, then dusted with almonds and sugar), poppy seed twists, chocolate rum balls, and a variety of other pastries jammed with nuts, jellies, and fruit.
How to book: Order for in-store pickup or delivery.
At Destroyer, you get a fine-dining experience for half the cost. Food is a visual art here, but it’s also downright delectable. Take the Raw Oatmeal, which has everyone waxing poetic about, well, oatmeal: a creamy, chewy bowl of grains that conceals hidden fruit and textured nut butter, all topped with a frozen yogurt disk. Even the Beef Tartare (a dish done to death everywhere in LA) feels surprisingly fresh, served buried beneath thinly sliced radish and mixed with pickled mushrooms and grains.
How to book: Walk-ins welcome or order online for pickup or delivery.
This larger, 21+ location of chef Sang Yoon’s game-changing Santa Monica gastropub has one of LA’s best craft beer programs, along with one of LA’s best burgers. The only argument against this dry-aged beef patty, topped with blue cheese, arugula, and onion jam (with no substitutions), is that it's actually closer to a sandwich than a burger—in which case, it's the best burger and the best sandwich in Culver City. If you can manage to look past the allure of The Office Burger, you’ll find a menu full of other well-executed delights like Chorizo Fritters, Grilled Octopus Salad, and Roasted Bone Marrow.
How to book: Walk-ins welcome or order online for pickup or delivery.
Gone are the days when you used to have to drive across town for BBQ; Culver City has its own meat temple dedicated to long-standing American barbecue traditions. Wood-smoked meats are prepared using classic smoking techniques, so you’ll find juicy brisket, fall-off-the-bone pork ribs, and house-made sausage links. Lunchtime is for scrumptious sandwich and BBQ combo plates, while they get a bit fancier for dinner, showcasing small plates like Lettuce Wraps filled with super-tender, smoked pork shoulder, and Chicken Wings accompanied by fermented hot sauce. Leaving without trying the Buttermilk Biscuits—flaky vehicles good for sopping up leftover meat juice, but also just as delicious smeared with whipped honey butter—is an absolute crime.
The menu at this fast-food Indian counter is smaller than the original Samosa House just up the street, but it’s got one thing the other location doesn't have: fake (aka soy) Chicken Tikka Masala that’s so good you'll want to use at least two of your three combo choices on it when ordering. Don’t leave without a Mango Lassi (there’s a vegan version too!) and a piping-hot Samosa or two.
Not to be confused with the thick-cut stuff you get at delis like Langer's, this classic Culver City diner specializes in the piles of shredded pastrami made famous by The Hat (and others). Pick a song on the old-school mini-jukebox, then grab the jus-dipped sandwich in your fist and go to town.
The original Compton location of this legendary fried chicken shop closed years ago, but the Culver City location is still going strong. They make intensely crunchy, heavily battered chicken using humanely raised chickens, which are fresh-fried to a golden crisp. The taste and texture is extraordinary—especially when you create your own meal combo by adding on piping-hot buttery biscuits and sides like Hotcakes, Sauteed Green Beans, and Corn on the Cob. If you’re dining in, you’ll also want to douse everything in warm honey from a spout for an extra touch of sweetness.
How to book: Order online for pickup or delivery.
This taco stand first opened in Culver City in 1959, right next to where the 405 freeway was being built. Hard-working construction workers would line up here for lunch every day—and ever since then, the lines haven’t stopped. You can’t go wrong with the Hard-Shell Beef Tacos sprinkled with grated yellow cheese, but they’ve also got tamales, enchiladas, tostadas, and burritos wrapped in hot-off-the-grill tortillas. (Plus, they now accept credit cards!)
How to book: Order online for pickup or delivery.
Part of Culver City’s Platform shopping center, this a beautifully designed rooftop restaurant features 360-degree city views and a bustling indoor space that spills into a sweeping outdoor area. The loud, lively vibe makes Margot ideal for large groups, and the Italian/Mediterranean/Spanish menu’s full of easy-to-share dishes with a little something for everyone. Start with the excellent crudo bar (citrusy hamachi, juicy oysters, and jamon iberico are on offer) and tasty small plates (like cheese-stuffed piquillo peppers and ricotta-topped focaccia), then move onto heavier fare like their famous pastas (we recommend the yolky carbonara peppered with salty morsels of guanciale and the saffron-flavored, crab-filled tagliarini). Oh, and you’d be remiss not to order from the lineup of elevated cocktails too -- such as the bright, dandelion-infused vodka or creamy matcha colada.
Another Platform destination, this renowned Bushwick pizzeria opened its first California location in Culver City last year -- and its lively outdoor patio has been packed with hungry Angelenos ever since. Obviously pizzas are the star of the show, especially the Bee Sting (a spicy, honey-spackled pie with soppressata and chili) and Famous Original (a vessel for tomato, caciocavallo, and parmigiano reggiano). Yes, you could totally order some pastas or side salads or marinated olives, but why would you when you should really save your stomach for those blistered, bubbly, chewy, thin, easy-to-fold crusts and extraordinary toppings?
One of Platform’s latest newcomers, Bianca Bakery turns out fresh-baked bread and pastries (think: flaky honey croissants, chocolate zucchini bread, and pistachio tarts), all influenced by the owners’ Italian, Argentinean, and French roots. Despite the name, this “bakery” is actually more of a restaurant, meaning you can just as easily stop by to grab a loaf of manchego focaccia or stay for lunch or dinner (there’s a bar and outdoor patio), when the menu boasts hearty eggplant parm and empanadas. Whatever you do, get the molasses bun filled with dulce de leche and topped with brown sugar.
Yes, Loqui (part of Culver City’s Platform) is the umpteenth taqueria on this list, but it earns its spot with a limited but incredibly tasty menu of excellent tacos and plates. What started as a weekly popup out of the back of San Francisco’s Tartine Bakery has grown into one of the city’s hottest taco spots. You’ll find a handful of tasty taco fillings like mushroom, chicken, and pork, but the true stars are Loqui’s handmade tortillas, which are ultra-thin and cooked until perfectly crisp, and can be purchased by the bag for all your home-taco needs.